For years I have read and heard about “Northeast Dinner Bell”. Until after this fine group’s extremely important – and successful – fundraiser on October 8 I honestly did not realize that Northeast Dinner Bell is Meals on Wheels in my neighborhood. With the thought that I am not the only uninformed resident of Windom Park, I would like to share what I have learned of late.
First, about the nonprofit delivery service known as Northeast Dinner Bells: The organization was started in the parking lot at Trinity United Methodist Church, 2511 Taylor NE, Minneapolis, in July of 1973, incorporated soon thereafter in March 1974. Chroniclers of that era report that “volunteers removed the heated meals from a delivery vehicle to their cars and delivered them to homebound neighbors.” As the program grew the organization rented office space from Trinity where they remain housed nearly forty years later.
Northeast Dinner Bell provides meals to people who are not able to shop or prepare meals for themselves. For some the service is temporary; for others it is probably their source for nutrition as long as they remain in their homes. For many recipients Northeast Dinner Bell is the program that enables them to stay in their homes, not only because of the nutritious meals but because of the regular visit by the driver and friend who delivers the meal.
At one time Northeast Dinner Bell expanded to serve more than 200 meals a day; today that number hovers between 120 and 160, with 250 volunteer drivers per month. Originally the program was a faith-based operation, with volunteer drivers recruited by church coordinators. Today nearly 2/3 of the volunteer hours are filled by volunteers recruited from area businesses, community-based civic groups and individual volunteers.
One little known fact is that more than half of Dinner Bell’s recipients donate money for their meals. Some are subsidized by local and federal government. Still, the income from these programs falls far short of covering expenses. Northeast Dinner Bell relies on contributions from area businesses, churches, social service groups, memorials, fundraising activities and general individuals.
Which leads me to “Mission Nutrition,” the theme of the fundraising event I totally missed. I had seen “Mission Nutrition” posters and even perused the sparkling array of performers set to share their talents at the public event on October 8 at the Ritz Theater. I simply did not understand the purpose of the event or of the fundraising organization – my loss, I now know. This is one mistake I will not make next year. Meanwhile, I’m quite sure Dinner Bell would appreciate a contribution, however belated, especially as the economy, chill of winter and the festivities of the season place even greater demands on their recipients, staff, volunteers and grocery budge/
Dinnerbell Meals on Wheels is open Monday-Friday 8-1 – other times by appointment.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or 612 789 6548.